Around the World in One Night

Isabella Cely-Garcia, Staff Writer

  The hum of hushed voices creates an electrical buzz in the theater, as performers in different traditional attire rush in and out of the wings, nerves running high for the night they had spent weeks preparing for. It’s not long before the lights dim and the curtains open—the night that would surely bring a fusion of diverse cultures to the stage, finally beginning.

   In a school that holds a great variety of cultural backgrounds among students like ours, the Multicultural Showcase is a very important event. Clubs like the Latin Dance Team, Asian Pacific Islander Association, Spanish Honor Society, Step Team, Bollywood Dance Team, and Chorus Club all make sure to participate. 

   However, the event was rich in individual performances as well. Junior Daniella Milian, sang as both a member of the Chorus Club, and as an individual performer. For her solo act, Daniella represented Mexican culture by singing La LLorona, a cultural classic by Jairo Zavala Ruiz. Daniella, recalling the audience’s reaction, thought that the performance went well. “I felt the audience enjoyed it. They were clapping along during the song and when I finished the clapping was very loud—which made me glad the audience fully enjoyed it.” 

   This is not to say that the performance was without challenges. Daniella remembers the intense emotions she experienced before her name was called. “Before the performance I was feeling very anxious since I just wanted to do well. And all the performances before me had done so well before. So I just wanted to do the best I could. ” 

   Still, with such a diverse group of performers, not everyone’s experience could be the same. Drama Club President Emma Schenker is an experienced performer, having been involved in theater and poetry for years. As an individual performer this year, Emma chose to represent Cuba and recited a poem by famous Cuban poet, José Martí. A veteran on the stage, the Senior shared her state of mind before going up. “I felt pretty calm before the performance; I don’t really get too nervous to perform usually.” While the performance went well, Emma understands more than most the complexity of pulling off a successful poetry reading. “I think the audience enjoyed it enough, though it’s a big hard to appreciate poetry fully the first time you hear it because it’s easy to miss things.”, she explained. Considering the cheers she received, it can be said that the audience did in fact appreciate her efforts. 

   While the audience is able to grasp the success of an event like the showcase, it is often harder to acknowledge the unseen work that goes into the smoothly-run event. It takes weeks or even months of practice for many of the performers to get their acts just right. Gabriella Tolentino, one of the junior performers, looks back on the many hours spent cleaning her dance moves up to perfection. “To prepare, we met up every Sunday and sometimes after school to practice! It was challenging at first, and scary when dancing with moving sticks, but we practiced a lot to perfectly execute our dance and to not get hurt when we perform.” 

   Gabriella performed as part of APIA (Asian Pacific Islander Association), along with a group of other members. They chose to represent the Philippines, performing a complex traditional dance called, The Tinikling. The performance turned out to be a fan-favorite among the audience. “The performance was so intricate and took so much coordination and the people performing did it so seamlessly that I was so impressed.” Daniella Milian raved, who managed to catch a peek before she went up herself.

    Similarly, Daniella also remembers the amount of time she spent in preparation for the showcase, saying “I had to practice a lot since I was singing in Spanish and it isn’t my first language. I would practice everyday to make sure I was pronouncing the words correctly.” Even with a language barrier, Daniella feels good about how the performance went, crediting her time spent practicing for her success. 

   Despite the obstacles, every single performer was able to accomplish what they had come to do. Their long hours spent dedicated to perfecting their respective acts produced the reactions they had been hoping for: cheers and applause from family and friends in the audience. The most important goal achieved, however, was the recognition of our school’s melting pot of a community, with cultures from all over the world coming together for one night of dancing, music and celebration.